Burrows Breaking Out

We chatted with Prison Break star Dominic Purcell about the show’s new season, the pressure of maintaining a hit series, and how many people he intimidates on the street.

Have you ever been falsely accused of anything you didn’t do?
No, thankfully.

How do you think you would actually fare if you were sent to jail?
Probably not very well. I don’t think anyone fares too well. If you’re a certain type of individual you may, but I’m certainly not a psychopath or a murderer. I don’t see myself as being overly aggressive or brutal.

Really? We figured you probably scare people walking down the street.
I was just born with heavy eyebrows [laughs]. When your back’s against the wall, who knows what’s going to happen. But when I say I’m not an aggressive person, I mean I’m not out-of-control aggressive. There’s an aggressiveness to me. I’m like any other guy—you push the wrong button, I’m going to respond.

Do you think they should change the name of the show since you guys have already broken out of prison?
I think there was talk about it, but the name Prison Break has become iconic in a way. I think people have just forgiven it, and they really liked the name anyway; so it is what it is. Plus, this year, we’re going back to that theme, as the guys are breaking out of a new prison.

What else can we expect from the new season?
Season Three is by far the best season, I believe, so far. The guys are stuck in a Panamanian prison. And a Panamanian prison is like Brazilian prisons or South American prisons—basically lawless societies within the prison walls. Unlike American prisons, which are five-star resorts compared to the place these guys are in, there is no authority that oversees the prisoners. The prisoners themselves control this world. So Scofield is in here dealing with all of that, and Mahone is starting to lose his mind because he lost his pills. Then you’ve got Bellick walking around in a diaper, and T-Bag doing what he does best to survive. It’s just going to be a highly dramatic, entertaining season.

What do you enjoy more: the prison sequences or being out on the run?
Being outdoors was a lot more interesting, and not as repetitious. I did a lot of my stuff [for Season One] behind a caged wall and inside a cell. Season Two allowed me to get out there and do what Lincoln does best, which is get things done.

The show is consistently one of the most hyped on TV. Do you like having that pressure on you?
It’s not so much pressure as in, “Hey, I’ve got to do a good job ’cause the show’s not going to go over” anymore. It’s to be expected now that the show is going to look good and be good, because we’ve got great actors and a great crew that are really passionate, love the show, and really look after it. But with any great success you want to maintain it. Obviously Prison Break is a solid hit here, and people dig it, but around the world it’s a phenomenon. You know when you have 135,000,000 Chinese people downloading the show every Wednesday night that you are in an unusual, once-in-a-lifetime gig. So the pressure is just wanting the show to keep doing what it’s doing.

We were huge fans of John Doe. Any chance of that show ever coming out on DVD?
I don’t know what the deal is, and I’m not sure why we’ve never had a DVD. I know that Sci Fi bought it and they’re playing it a lot, but I don’t really know about the future of that. It’s unfortunate, because I really liked John Doe. And I thought it was taken off the air too early.

What’s the most elaborate stunt you’ve ever pulled in real life?
I’m not really an elaborate stunt guy. Does getting married and having four kids count?